In this article I offer some of the steps I use to identify Fake News. I make no promise that they will always work, but can say they, generally, work for me.
Firstly, always remember that saying “Don’t believe everything you read”. This is the first, and primary, step to take. I am always wary of everything I read, choosing rather to question each and every assertion made by others until I am confident they are normally independent, unbiased and truthful in their statements.
Step 2 is to always question “Hearsay”. If a comment is preceded by the words “I was told…… “ or some equivalent, I suggest you get out your bag and take a pinch of salt.
Step 3 is “be careful of the source”. In this context, every news service has a personal agenda and broadcasts news which supports its viewpoint. As a child I recall the BBC reporting on events in Rhodesia, asserting the children were starving and raiding dustbins for food. The report was accompanied by TV footage as additional evidence. What was not included, were picture of the photographer “lacing” the dustbins with both sweets and small change.
Step 4 is “confirmation”. I read relatively widely and, to satisfy my personal bias, I confirm information from a number of sources. An example of this is to confirm what I read in Business Day with that offered in Eye Witness News or Biznews.com. This means that the information is generally available in society. The more an information source meets this requirement the more I tend to accept what they report. That is until they make an error. Then we start again, or just discard the source.
Finally, ask yourself “Does this make sense and roughly align with other information on the same subject?” The mantra “If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is” is vital in this instance. While change is the only constant in life, it moves relatively slowly and often can be managed by careful anticipation.
We all tend to slant things to suit our biases and, despite argument for impartiality, we are, in fact, biased. This results from your upbringing combined with your personal experience. This partiality determines how we view life and happenings and is a fundamental part of our personality and character.
The viewpoint from which any two of us look at a situation will vary. We grow and learn as individuals by listening to the viewpoint of others, comparing it with our own and then choosing what parts of the information we will keep and include in our memory. This results in a very small change to our character and personality.
Further to his, understanding others comes from analysing them and the factors that contributed to forming them as individuals. The better we do this, the more we understand and respect them. I recall standing at a meeting at the ICC, Durban and making the following statement:
“South Africa is a mixture of societies each of which have strengths and weaknesses. If we can agree to try and combine our individual strengths rather than accentuating our weaknesses, we will be invincible.”
I just wish that our politicians would realise this truth.
Have fun and enjoy your confinement. Although there is logic behind maintaining the restriction of movement of the elderly, don’t believe it until it is presented as regulation in writing. Then we can set about doing something about it!!!